grav·i·ty

1 – dignity or sobriety of bearing : importance significance; especially : seriousness : a serious situation or problem

2 – weight

3 – the gravitational attraction of the mass of the earth, the moon, or a planet for bodies at or near its surface (2) :a fundamental physical force that is responsible for interactions which occur because of mass between particles, between aggregations of matter

Cut to me, sitting at my desk, consoling a crying Henry.  For better or worse, some kids are just more emotional than others.  Henry is one of them.  Developmentally, he’s not as mature as the others and often he sees life in black and white, not quite understanding the shades of gray that often come with feelings.

After consoling his tears and trying to make him understand that, even though I reprimanded him for his behavior, that no, I indeed did not hate him, but actually I loved him, and always would, regardless of his behavior, I sent him back to his seat to wait for his bus to be called.

And I sighed.  A loud, deep, sigh.

The gravity of my job hit me full force in that moment.

Of course I realize the importance of my profession at every moment, even when I’m being silly and trying to get them to act like big, scary, purple monsters… but when a child takes me on his emotional roller coaster ride on almost a daily basis, it’s bound to smack you in the face eventually.

And so, I tell them I love them.  I didn’t always, but I do now.  I’m sure most of them hear it at home all the time… but I wonder about a few and every child needs to know they are loved.  Needs to hear it, sometimes more than once a day.

I learned my first few years teaching it’s not healthy to bring too many emotions home with me.  After many sleepless nights, I had to train myself to leave it at school… or at least try.

Before putting him on the bus every night, I now tell Henry ‘I love you buddy’.  Then I send him and his friends on their way until I see them again.  And I’ll show them and tell them all over again.